The Art of Tetman Callis apple strudel

apple strudel

First published in New York Tyrant, September 19, 2017. Copyright 2017 by Tetman Callis.

my mama didn’t raze no fool no sir

she razed herself a sporty sophisticate with a taste for fair game and gumbo

one gone off to view an elephant or two

the big apple! the city of angels!

a boy with smarts enough to walk himself around the block

not only once and not merely twice

nor even such as thrice but a fellow who can step out on a block

walk it clear to ad infinitum

never tiring

never flagging not even down a cab


my mama she would not suffer fools lightly no sir

no more than she would suffer a witch to live

she knew what cooks

she could step out on these cheap and dusty streets and walk around with the best

go a few rounds with any local welterweight

float like a raft and sting like something velvet

it wouldn’t bother her no sir

she would brush it off

slough it off

laugh it off

flip it off

get it off her any way she could and go about her business

tend to her affairs

bake the bread that needed baking

knead the dough that needed rising

raze the boy that weren’t no fool


don’t be a fool my mama would say

stand clear of the circus parade!

the trampling dancing elephant or two

spellbound riders of broom handles and baker’s dozens of tinker’s dams

cookie cutters and trimmers of holy rollings

punch-drunk drunks drinking punch drunk from cups

fellow travelers home from afar and points beyond

dragging trophies in the dust

snapping flags in the wind

whistling dixie and the battle hymn both past the graveyard

parading down my street in front of the house where i was born

my mama stepping out of the kitchen and brushing flour from her hands

taking me by my collar and one cauliflower ear

twisting me round to poleaxe my perturbations

sluicing me through the flue straight and narrow and along her merry way

blocking out the path to be followed

row to be hoed

line to be toed

spit-shined spats at heel and knuckle-dusters to hand

mama razing her little angel, the apple of her eye.